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Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act power to de-notify = It is a settled legal proposition that once the possession of the land is taken by the State under Section 16 of the Act, land vests in the State free from all encumbrances. The State loses its power to de-notify the same under Section 48 of the Act.

 published in  http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40633 

Non-Reportable
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 21780 of 2008
The Financial Commissioner (Revenue)
and Secretary, Punjab & Ors. ….
Petitioners
Versus
Gurkirpal Singh ….
Respondent
With

Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 12921 of 2010

And

Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.4994 of 2011

 

J U D G M E N T
Dr. B. S. CHAUHAN, J.
The first petition has been filed against the impugned judgment
and order dated 9.5.2008, passed by the High Court of Punjab & Haryana
at Chandigarh in Writ Petition No.10511 of 2007 by which the
notification dated 23.2.2007 de-notifying the land in exercise of the
power under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter
referred to as the ‘Act’) has been exercised by the State and the said
order has been quashed.
The subsequent two petitions have been disposed of by the High
Court of Punjab & Haryana in terms of the judgment and order passed by
the said High Court in first petition.
Land was notified under Section 4 of the Act on 8.9.1994.
Section 6 declaration was made on 13.6.1995 and the Award was made on
7.7.1997. As the award amount was not paid, the “person interested”
approached the High Court by filing writ petitions wherein directions
were issued to release the amount of compensation. Subsequently,
references under Section 18 of the Act were filed. Some of the
references were decided and in the Execution Court an objection was
filed by the State authorities that the land was no longer required
for the purpose it was sought to be acquired for, i.e., establishment
of court complex as it was to be established at a different place.
Therefore, the execution proceedings were dropped and certain orders
were passed. Subsequently, State authorities denotified the land so
acquired issuing a notification dated 23.2.2007 under Section 48 of
the Act.
We have heard the matter at length and also summoned the learned
Land Acquisition Collector, Dasuya alongwith the original record. The
record was produced before us.
It is a settled legal proposition that once the possession of
the land is taken by the State under Section 16 of the Act, land vests
in the State free from all encumbrances. The State loses its power
to de-notify the same under Section 48 of the Act.
In the instant case, the only question arose as to whether the
possession had been taken or not. The High Court after examining the
facts/record of the case came to the conclusion that the possession
had been taken on 10.7.1997. Mutation had also been made, showing the
land use as for establishment of court complex, Dasuya. Entries in
Rapat Roznamcha dated 10.7.1997 corroborate the same.
We have examined the original record ourselves. There is an
office order issued by the learned Sub Divisional Officer (Land
Acquisition Collector), Dasuya, District Hoshiarpur, addressed to the
Tehsildar, Dasuya, which reads as under:-

 

 
“From
Sub Divisional Officer cum
Land Acquisition Collector,
Dasuya.
To
The Tehsildar, Dasuya.
Sub: No.375 LAC/dated 7/7/1997, Announcement of Award for Judicial
Complex, Dasuya.
In the abovenoted subject, the Award for the acquisition of land
for Judicial Complex has been announced on 7.7.1997 in the presence of
the land owners. You are requested to take possession of this land in
presence of land owner and representative of the Judicial officers.
The compensation of crops may be assessed, if any or take consent of
the land owners for harvesting the crop at their own level. After
taking of possession report may be sent to this office alongwith Rapat
Roznamcha within two days. The matter be treated as most urgent.
Sd/-
DA/copy of award. Sub Divisional Officers cum
Land Acquisition Collector
Dasuya.
xx xx xx xx
No……../LAC/SDA dated /7/97
A copy is forwarded to the Addl. Senior Sub Judge, Dasuya for
information.
No……../LAC/SDA dated /7/97
A copy is forwarded to the Distt. & Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur
for information.
Sd/-
Sub Divisional Officers cum
Land Acquisition Collector
Dasuya.”
The original record reveal entries of taking over and handing
over the possession containing the signatures of the officers of the
State as well as of the “persons interested” and witnesses which make
it evident that the actual physical possession of the land had been
taken on 10.7.1997.
In view of the above, there is no room for doubt that
possession had been taken on 10.7.1997 and in such a fact-situation it
was not permissible for the State to exercise its power under Section
48 of the Act. No fault can be found with the impugned judgment and
orders
The petitions are devoid of merit and are accordingly dismissed.
…….…………………………………….J. (DR. B.S.
CHAUHAN)

 
….……………………………………….J.
(V. GOPALA GOWDA)
New Delhi;
August 5, 2013
———————–
5

 

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